Monroe County wants Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to revisit his border dispute decision that favors Bibb County, arguing Kemp ignored experts, “manifestly abuses his discretion, and exceeds his authority” in the case.
The motion to reconsider was filed Thursday with the Secretary of State, Monroe County Commission Chairman James Vaughn wrote in an e-mailed statement to The Telegraph. Vaughn said commissioners are proceeding “with the hope that our position could be clearly expressed and the Decision reconsidered before this matter escalates further. As you know and as Secretary Kemp has acknowledged, the location of the County Line was not resolved by the Secretary’s earlier determination.”
Vaughn continued, “We do not believe the issue is laid to rest and hope that Secretary Kemp will reconsider his decision before further problems arise from this matter.”
Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said he expects the Secretary of State will stand by his decision to reject a survey by Terry Scarborough, which attempted to determine where the line was established in 1822 and amended in 1877.
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“I think the Secretary of State without question did a diligent job,” Adams said Saturday. “He reviewed all the evidence, and he came to the correct conclusion that Terry Scarborough did not consider evidence from County and the survey was not reliable and correct.”
Much of the 36-page motion rehashes familiar ground in the case. Monroe County has argued that expert testimony and historical evidence reviewed by an expert judge proves the Monroe-Bibb county border is farther south than Bibb County claims.
High among the issues is the location of a ferry site -- or ferry sites -- on the Ocmulgee River that establish the eastern corner of the counties. Bibb County acknowledges that Scarborough found a ferry site on the Ocmulgee, but said it wasn’t the correct ferry site from which the county border was drawn.
In the motion, Monroe County’s attorney, Carolyn “Tippi” Burch, argues Kemp incorrectly wanted to be “100 percent” sure of where the line should be. That’s the wrong legal standard, Burch wrote.
Monroe County is now arguing Kemp made many legal and factual errors, saying he “failed to give proper deference to the findings of fact of the appointed fact-finder, applied the wrong burden of proof, improperly excluded from consideration evidence submitted by the Surveyor, exhibited an improper bias against the Governor’s appointed Surveyor, misinterprets the law, (and) ignores or misinterprets critical facts and evidence.”
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.